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Jeanne Dennis

Jeanne Dennis, host of Heritage of Truth TV

A Creative Challenge: Try Something New

By Jeanne Dennis

Life for me has been changing rapidly. After 11 years of part-time caregiving and the deaths of several family members and friends, I’m finally coming up for air. I’m able to enjoy writing, art, cooking, and music again.

One writing project especially challenges and excites me. My dad used to journal often and made me promise to do something with his musings. He died three years ago, but his journals and notes had been missing for five years, ever since my sister died. We thought they had been discarded accidentally with some of her papers.

What joy it gave us to find them in an old file cabinet a few months ago! Now I plan to sort through his writings and “do something” with them, probably in the form of a memoir about Dad’s and Mom’s lives. When Mom told others their story, people always said, “You should write a book.” So perhaps I’ll do it in her stead.

In the past month, I’ve also tried my hand at urban sketching. Drawing buildings and bustling street life has never appealed to me before, but I’ve found it enjoyable. Scribbles done the right way can look amazingly similar to people, cars, and architecture.

Though I’ve always enjoyed cooking, I’ve recently faced new challenges in the kitchen. Last fall I discovered I have gluten and other food sensitivities. Tragically, my favorite homemade whole-wheat sourdough bread had to go. Now I’m learning to cook with vegetables, fruits, and proteins with little to no grains. It has stretched my creativity and our food budget, but we’re feeling healthier and I was able to lose weight for the first time in many years. I also make my own dark chocolate–yum!

Finally, I’m writing music again and working on a Christmas album, which will be my third album.

Can I challenge you to make the most of your summer and try something new, fun, and creative? Don’t get frustrated if you don’t succeed at first. Half the joy in accomplishment comes from the journey it takes to get there. So enjoy the creative journey!

Jeanne Gowen Dennis hosts Heritage of Truth TV http://heritageoftruth.com, is a commissioned Colson Fellow and Centurion, and is a multi-award winning author of a dozen books. For over twenty years, she has been helping families understand, live out, and pass on biblical heritage through her writing, speaking, teaching, original music, and online ministries. She and her husband of over 40 years serve actively in their local church and enjoy spending time with their family, including three amazing grandchildren.

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Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller, writing in the very hot desert near Palm Springs, California.

One of the many goals of mentoring is helping our mentee identify her motive for the choices she makes. She may not realize it but all of us react, respond, and choose based upon what we desire and want. Or what we think will prevent some kind of emotional pain, maybe even physical pain. Helping our mentee to recognize what can seem well-hidden is a challenge.

My husband and I are lay-counselors and as we try to help people make wise and godly choices, we’ve seen the most long-rang change when there has been a heart transformation, not just mental assent or gritting their teeth (metaphorically) to force obedience. Because we also received counseling and have been in relationships where we were mentored, we have appreciated the mentor or friend who asked questions that helped us identify our motives and what we hoped to gain when we made a particular choice.

If you’d like to help others discover why they “do what they do,” you don’t have to be a “formal” mentor. Even in casual friends friendships, you can inquire into their heart’s motives. Rather than encourage them to grit their teeth and vow to be better, we want them to have a deep spiritual change where their motives are based upon greater trust in God—not self-effort.

Asking questions rather than giving advice helps your mentee/friend to get in touch with their motivations. If we only give advice, our mentee could depend upon us for their power rather than having a heart for God. But the difficulty is thinking of the questions to ask.

Here Are Some Questions to Use During Mentoring

Here are some questions. These aren’t used in any order but can be used depending upon what the mentee is telling you. Then ask more questions based upon what the mentee replies.

What did the other person’s reaction seem to say about you?
What if you didn’t keep doing that? What do you fear would happen?
What is God inviting you into through allowing these circumstances?
What would you like to say to that person who hurt you?
start here
Why do you believe that’s true when other people have told you it’s not?
What were you hoping or longing for?
What do you feel is lacking in your life?
What does that choice provide for you?
What were you saying about yourself during the time that hurtful thing happened?
How does your behavior leave out God in your life?
How does that behavior protect you from some kind of harm or pain?
Everything is a choice. Why are you choosing that destructive behavior: to gain something or protect yourself from something?
What does your choice say about who God is?
What does your behavior or choice indicate is your belief about God, life, or other people?

Kathy’s most recent book.

Learning to use these questions may take time. And asking them may not bring instant change to your mentee. But the mentee’s new sense of self-awareness can be used by the Holy Spirit to reveal wrongly-motivated thinking and choices. That kind of heart transformation will have long-range benefits.

 

(These thoughts have been adapted from Never Ever Be the Same: A New You Starts Today by Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller)

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Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where I’m feeling the heat.

Have you ever wondered what holiness feels like? Malachi 4:2 expresses what God might like us to experience when we see the fruits of holiness that he is producing in our lives: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”
Have you ever “leapt” in your spirit after recognizing that your trust in God had expanded to include forgiving someone who hurt you because you recognize how much you’ve been forgiven? Or giving grace by listening with understanding to a friend share a problem—even though she usually ignores you—because you’ve experienced God’s grace? Or resting calmly in a situation that normally drives you over the edge because you know God is in charge? Or being patient when your child spills milk at the dinner table for the third time because you know God has repeatedly been patient with you? We’re no longer fenced in and held in bondage by sinful patterns like worry, fear, selfishness, hate, resentment, and so many other binding things.

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Dianne Barker here, wondering. Where are you? It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Tennessee where I live, but last week storms battered our community. Maybe you’re in a sunny life-place. Or not. I’ve come through many life storms myself. Through is the optimum word. Read More →

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Spring blooms

Blooms Bursting Out by Mary Hamilton

Mary’s Monday Musings to Quilt Encouragement.
Spring Is Sprung. So goes the saying I remember from my youth. What glorious sights springtime brings us. Masses of flowers blossoming in our yards, along our highways, and over our meadows and hillsides to delight our eyes and scent the air. The season of Spring is well named. Hope and encouragement springs into our hearts and souls with the sight of blossoms changing the barren landscape of winter. Our spirits are renewed. Our sense of expectation rekindled. Our creative energy replenished.

Everywhere we look, we see signs that God isn’t finished with our world yet. His creativity all around us demands our notice and invites us to throw ourselves into living our life to the fullest. The power and love that God demonstrates on the canvas of His world each spring inspires us to use our days to pursue the gifts He has given us. Perhaps a pat on the back, homemade cookies, a word spoken to encourage, or a message written to lift someone’s spirits. Whatever our gifts, God gives them to us as freely as he spreads beauty on our land. We thank Him for our world because we didn’t create the seeds that sprout into flower or food. We thank Him because He planted the seed in us that allows us to spread His love around our world with the gifts He gives us. Thank you, God, for our beautiful Spring.

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